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SOLIDWORKS external thread: The SOLIDWORKS thread tool

Let’s look at SOLIDWORKS external thread. In this tutorial you will learn how to create an external thread in SOLIDWORKS using the Thread Tool.

SOLIDWORKS external thread before the Thread Tool

I first started using SOLIDWORKS as a student back in 2006 and one of the things that took a fair-few repetitions to learn was creating SOLIDWORKS external thread features manually. The old process involved sketching a circle and using this to create a helix (with the correct pitch and other parameters!) then calculating and sketching a suitable thread profile and Sweeping this along the Helix to create either an Extruded or Cut thread.

solidworks external thread: a typical Feature Tree for an old-style thread feature
A typical Feature Tree for an old-style thread feature

Luckily this process was vastly simplified by the introduction of the Thread Feature in SOLIDWORKS 2016. This removed many of the pitfalls of manually modelling threads and made the entire process much faster and easier to modify.

Using the Thread Tool

To use the Thread Tool, first a model with a cylindrical section (such a circular boss) is needed. The Thread Tool can then be found underneath the Hole Wizard Tool on the Features tab of the Command Manager, or in Insert>Features>Thread.

solidworks external thread tutorial: Start with a Part with a circular Feature
Start with a Part with a circular Feature

Once the Thread Tool is selected the location of the thread needs to be specified by selecting a circular edge. Then the thread specification should be set.

For SOLIDWORKS external threads the options such as Metric or Inch Die can be used, whereas options like Metric or Inch Tap are best suited to threaded holes. There is a huge range of standard thread sizes to choose from and the diameter and pitch can also be manually overridden.

solidworks external thread: Select a circular edge for the Thread and set the size and length
Select a circular edge for the Thread and set the size and length

As usual in SOLIDWORKS there are many sub-options to allow you to completely customise the feature – thread starts can easily be offset, the start angle is fully adjustable, thread direction can be adjusted (no more accidentally creating reverse-threaded parts!) and multiple starts can be created.

It’s also possible to specify the exact length of the thread using a number of options, such as the overall blind length, the number of thread revolutions and using Up to Selection End Conditions.

solidworks external thread: Set any further sub-options, if needed
Set any further sub-options, if needed

Finally, it’s also possible to create entirely custom thread profiles that can then be used with the Thread Tool to create custom threads.

Thread Tool Top Tips

Solidworks 2021 - Intensive training course for complete beginnersAlthough it has now been around for a number of years I sometimes encounter users who still model threads manually. Both options will work, and both should give the same end result but the Thread Tool is an excellent time-saver that really simplifies the entire process of creating, and adjusting threads.

  • Start with a model with a circular feature
  • Select the Thread Tool, then select a circular Edge
  • The tool can be used for SOLIDWORKS External Threads, or for Internal holes
  • Specify the thread type and size
  • Set the thread length
  • Set the sub-options, if needed

Happy modelling and rendering!


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About the Author: This is a guest post by Johno Ellison, a design engineer with over fifteen years or experience, who specializes in SolidWorks 3D CAD modeling. Johno is the author of the following online SolidWorks courses:
Master Solidworks 2021 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2019 – 3D CAD using real-world examples
Master Solidworks 2018 – 3D CAD using real-world examples

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